Reviewed on Friday July 25
Sky Ferreira has the extremes of the grunge-pop spectrum covered – from a widely publicised DIY record to a support slot on Miley’s Bangerz tour. In March, the 22-year-old former model rocked a sold-out headline show at Oxford Art Factory and, naturally, all eyes have been on Ferreira’s return Down Under for Splendour.
The Metro is, as expected, packed out, with giggling teens sardining their way to the front while the stage is still bare. Hannah Karydas warms the crowd as Eves, the 19-year-old Brisbanite stomping her way through a setlist of pop with a punch. Eves’ songs, underscored by rolling percussion and swampy synth from her band members, have the audience wonderstruck, caught between her lithe lyrics and commanding vocals. Strumming brazenly on her guitar, Eves closes with ‘Electrical’, an ’80s-tinged cut that caps off an almost too polished performance.
So you can understand the sheer confusion when Sky Ferreira shuffles onto stage to ‘24 Hours’, her dot-to-dot vocals failing to cause any ripples across the sea of phones. Movement in the crowd is minimal, bar the arm extensions for a better shot. The song ends and Ferreira excuses herself from the stage, much to the (visible) disdain of her band, which continues to play with unreciprocated energy. It’s awkward. And Ferreira breaks the number one rule of awkward moments on her return. “It’s a bit dead up here and I’m already awkward,” she mumbles, adding that she’s nervous. A few uneasy laughs later and she’s back into her set, with tracks from her blogger-gold debut album Night Time, My Time eliciting some sing-along action.
Trudging around stage in a sunflower dress and leather jacket, the LA native throws a pair of dark sunnies over her eyeliner-smeared eyes. As she belts out pop hit after hit, the control in her voice is nothing short of impressive, but between each hook and thespian young-love lyric there’s a big ol’ I-don’t-wanna-be-here elephant that keeps sweeping the room. And with the unresponsive crowd, you can hardly blame her.
There are rare glimpses of Ferreira’s face beneath her black mane, which she almost seems more comfortable singing through, and now and then she reaches out and prompts the audience into a screaming mess. ‘I Blame Myself’ is a blazing comet through the set, and momentarily wrestles the tweens away from their photo-taking. You almost feel sorry for Ferreira, who sullenly drags herself back onstage for ‘Everything Is Embarrassing’ – a fitting epilogue to the evening.